Steven Avery, convicted of the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach, has been the centerpiece of social media speculation since Netflix released its docu-series Making a Murderer in December, 2015. The author of a new book, however, details a lot of information surrounding the case that she claims was left out of the series.
WBAY reports that Jessica McBride, a freelance columnist for OnMilwaukee.com and teacher at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Journalism school, began going through the numerous archives on the Avery case once it gained national popularity. While looking through the case file, she noticed something disturbing: the Netflix docu-series failed to include a lot of crucial evidence against Avery, which may have distorted the public’s view of the case.
“When I started looking into the case file for OnMilwaukee.com, I was rather shocked to see how much the documentary distorted things.”
Instead of letting it lie, McBride decided to write a book on the case. Entitled Rush to Judgment, the new book provides in-depth details of the Avery that she stated Making a Murderer failed to provide.
“Essentially, it’s a fuller view of the evidence, and I think it will lead people to a different conclusion than Netflix did.”
For instance, one of the most crucial points in the case was the blood vial. The film shows that Avery’s defense team declared that Avery’s blood vial had been tampered with, noting that the seal was broken and rubber stopper on the vial had a needle hole in it. Yet, McBride stated that it’s common for the vials to have holes in them.
“The infamous hole in the blood vial? A prison nurse said she put it there. And, I talked to national experts who say such holes are not only common, they are how the blood gets into the vial. I was first to report this that I know of, for OnMilwaukee, and turned it into a full chapter.”
One of the most notable incidents left out of the docu-series was Brendan Dassey’s allegations that Avery molested him. In 2006, Dassey, Avery’s nephew, told Special Agent Tom Fassbender of the Wisconsin Department of Justice Criminal Investigation Division that his uncle “touched him in uncomfortable places.”
Although a psychiatrist who evaluated Dassey stated that the then 16-year-old denied ever being molested, McBride pointed out that this information, which could potentially change the dynamics of the case, shouldn’t have been left out of the film.
Avery’s new attorney, Kathleen Zellner, caught wind of the allegation, and recently claimed that Fassbender coerced Dassey into saying that Avery molested him.
Another point that McBride explores in depth is Dassey’s interview with the Manitowoc police. Still a minor, Dassey was interrogated for numerous hours without the presence of an attorney. The film included a portion of the interrogation, showing Dassey alone in the interrogation room, without an attorney or his parents.
McBride pointed out that Dassey’s attorney, Len Kachinsky, was made out to be the “bad guy” because he wasn’t present when the teen was being interviewed. However, McBride said that the attorney wasn’t even assigned to the case yet when the interrogation took place.
“Kachinsky was trying to get his client a 20-year plea deal yet he’s become the villain. Dassey had already confessed on video to law enforcement before Kachinsky ever was assigned to the case.”
Not everyone is thrilled with McBride’s new book. In addition to some reviewers giving the book one out of five rating stars on Amazon for being “one-sided,” others took to social media to call the journalist names.
Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey remain in prison. Convicted of the murder of Teresa Halbach, both are currently serving life sentences.
[Photo by Netflix]